After writing about my experiences teaching in Hanoi, I often get questions from readers about how to teach English in Vietnam. So, to help you guys decide whether you could live and work in Vietnam, I’m publishing a short series of interviews with teachers who’ve lived, or currently live, in Hanoi. In this first edition I talk to Emma and Loes about everything from teaching highs and lows to pay rates, living costs, visas and teaching English if you’re from a non-English speaking country.
This time next week, we’ll be in Spain! Before settling in Madrid, we’re taking a four-week road trip around the country to get a feel for Spanish life and as our departure date draws closer, we’re trying to formulate a rough itinerary of places to visit. Fortunately, Patti from One Road at a Time, who walked the Camino de Santiago across Spain with her husband Abi last year, was able to give us the lowdown on all things Spanish and the best places to visit.
Ever tried using Airbnb? The website has become our go-to choice for booking travel accommodation these days and we used it exclusively during our trip to the USA. Airbnb has saved us tons of cash, allowed us to stay in some beautiful places and meet some amazing people. Unfortunately, we’ve also had some less comfortable experiences with Airbnb, from freezing cabins in the woods to last-minute cancellations and the worst of the worst: bedbugs.
I remember sitting in my London office back in 2012, reading travel blogs and trying to figure out just how people could afford to travel full time for years on end, it seemed so unachievable. Now I occasionally get a little shock when I realise that it’s been two and a half years since Andrew and I left the UK and we’re still travelling and unbelievably, we’re not broke!
I woke up this morning in a bit of a panic. This was brought on by the realisation that we have just five days left in the UK before we fly to New York. I started this summer with lists of plans and projects to tackle, I had articles and e-books to write, research to undertake for our move to Europe after Christmas and of course, things to organise for our fast-approaching trip to the US. Have I managed to tick even half those projects off my task list? Not even close, but we have had some amazing catch-up time with family and friends, so it’s definitely been a summer well spent.
Andrew and I met almost ten years ago, at an 80s-themed nightclub in Bristol. When I first clapped eyes on that drunken, long-haired version of Andrew I never would have guessed that a decade on we’d be living in Vietnam together. How did those two students, with their uncertainties and unmade plans, end up fusing their lives together? More impressively, how have we managed to travel together non-stop for the last two years without killing each other?
2015 is shaping up to be a great year. The first half of it will be spent in Asia working out the last five months of our teaching contracts in Vietnam and then relaxing in Thailand for a month. After that another summer in the UK awaits followed by an autumn of road-tripping through America and a proper British Christmas, our first in two years. After that, my thoughts keep returning to Europe, a continent I’ve lived in almost my whole life but have barely explored.
It was late at night on a quiet Hanoi street (yes, such a thing does exist) and I was learning how to ride a motorbike. As I practised turning in the road Mr Nguyen, who’s renting me my slightly battered 125cc Yamaha for just £25 a month, advised me: “Make sure you use the horn so they know you are a bad driver!” The next comment was just as surprising:
Have you ever considered sleeping in a stranger’s house to save money while you travel? Well, that’s what I thought Couchsurfing was like until we tried it out in Taipei, Taiwan. Instead, thanks to our amazing host Jackie, we found out that Couchsurfing can be a great way to learn about a place from a local perspective, make new friends and exchange experiences.
Since Aung San Suu Kyi and her National League for Democracy (NLD) recommended that the tourism boycott of Burma be lifted in 2010, the number of people travelling to the country has steadily increased. However, the NLD urges tourists to boycott package tours and cruises as they benefit the ruling government rather than the local Burmese people; with that in mind, here are some tips on how to get around Burma independently.